Newest Review: ... I smoked about 10 a day on average so started on stage 2 which is using 15mg patches. I never made it to the third stage which is a very lo... more
FREEDOM AT LAST FROM NICK O'TINE!!
Member Name: Skyedame
Date: 04/09/05, updated on 05/09/05 (1533 review reads)
Advantages: No need to go cold turkey. Saving lots of money
Disadvantages: The taxman can look for another mug
WHY I GAVE UP SMOKING:
At £5 a packet, they were costing me about £20-£25 a week. That’s £80-£90 a month. Which, over a period of 5-6 months equates to the cost of a return air ticket to Australia where my son lives, or for about double that, the cost of a ticket to Arizona where my daughter lives.
Nothing in there about health issues, you’ll notice. The big C didn’t get a mention. No, I had purely financial reasons and I should imagine that’s probably one of the main reasons any of us want to give up smoking.
I am not going to go into the health issues. We all know about them. If you don’t, you’re a real ostrich.
Approximately £90 per month is £1,080 per year. So, if you are a smoker, before you start moaning about other people taking holidays abroad or buying a new car – get out your calculator.
The decision was made, and although I didn’t have to commit myself straight away, I decided to find out the best way to go about becoming a non-smoker with as little pain as possible.
I popped along to our local surgery and saw our practice nurse who was very supportive. We discussed the best option for me. As a moderate smoker (no more than 15 per day) she said that the NiQuitin 3-Step Patch was probably the best, and I’d be starting with the Step 2 (half way there already!)
How long on each step? I made a mistake with mine, which I’ll tell you about shortly, but here is what it says on the instructions:
STEP 1: 21mg for 6 weeks then continue with:
STEP 2: 14mg for 2 weeks, then continue with
STEP 3: 7mg for 2 weeks
But if you smoke 10 or less cigarettes a day, and start with STEP 2, the regime is as follows:
STEP 2: 14mg for 6 weeks, then continue with
STEP 3: 7mg for 2 weeks
Listen carefully to what your practice nurse tells you and read the instructions properly when you get the patches or else you may make the same mistake as me. Luckily, my mistake didn’t have disastrous consequences.
MY STUPID MISTAKE:
I was supposed to go and see the Practice Nurse once I’d finished the first 2 weeks of my Step 2 patches. Unfortunately, it would have meant me taking time off work, which I wasn’t willing to do. Anyway, I didn’t feel it necessary as I was coping perfectly well. So I just ‘phoned up and asked for a repeat prescription of the patches, but for them to be the lower dose (Step 3). Nobody questioned this. Once I started on the lower dose, I found that my ‘craving’ for a cigarette seemed stronger than it had been than when I first gave up. It was only when reading the instructions again especially for this review that I discovered that I actually should have been on the Step 2 Patches for 6 weeks (not two) before stepping down to Step 3! Therefore, I count myself lucky that I didn’t fall by the wayside – and thought I’d mention it so you know what not to do!
WHAT THE PATCHES ARE AND WHAT THEY CONTAIN:
NiQuitin CQ Clear are clear, colourless, square patches for sticking on your skin. They are almost invisible which is great. I have a friend who was on another type of patch which looked like a large sticking plaster. It was so ugly, she had to wear long sleeves all the time!
Each Step (strength) comes in its own pack and each pack contains 7 or 14 patches (1 or 2 week kit) it individual sachets.
Tip: Keep a pair of scissors by your box of patches. The sachets can only be opened with scissors. I put my patches and scissors into an old wash bag so they are always together. This is also useful if you have children in the house as it is important, like all medicines, that the patches be kept away from children.
Step 1: NiQuitin CQ Clear 21 mg; contains 114 mg nicotine and delivers 21 mg of nicotine over 24 hours
Step 2: NiQuitin CQ Clear 14mg: contains 78 mg nicotine and delivers 14 mg of nicotine over 24 hours
Step 3: NiQuitin CQ Clear 7 mg: contains 36 mg nicotine and delivers 7 mg of nicotine over 24 hours
Each patch contains ethylene/vinyl acetate copolymer, polyethylene terephthalate, polyethylene film, polyisobutylene and printing ink (am sure the printing ink is working a treat).
Information nicely tucked under the belt, I skipped off home with my 2-week supply of Step 2 Patches and put them in my bedside drawer.
One step at a time, eh?
I picked a day to stop. Although, to be honest, I wasn’t really ‘ready’ but then I realised that really that was just another excuse to put it off for another day. You know what I’m talking about don’t you? You’ve picked the day, told close friends/partner what you’re doing, you feel really good about it …. but when the day actually dawns, you start to feel mildly panicky?
Initially, I’d intended to stop over the 2-week period I was on holiday from work. I thought it would be the perfect time; I’d be at home, no stress (not that I have much of that in my job), no set routine in my day where I would normally smoke. Nobody about in the daytime should the nicotine withdrawal bring me to a ‘snappish’ mood.
Then I realised that, actually, this wasn’t going to be a good time. Holidays are for relaxing, right? Treating yourself. So I decided that suddenly giving up smoking during my holiday time was not a good idea (and I have to be honest here, I felt a sense of relief that I had given myself a stay of execution). Nope, I finally decided that the Sunday before I was due to go back to work would be the day I’d slap on the first patch.
Sunday dawned. I toyed with the idea of putting off the slapping on of the first patch until the next day. But I’d already told my hubs that Sunday was going to be the day. He did the correct thing by not mentioning a word to me about this being ‘the day’ and thereby pressurising me. But a little bit of shame niggled at me that if I didn’t do it today, he would be disappointed for me. But he’d never nag. He used to be a smoker himself, so knew what I’d be going through. Nope, this was going to be my decision.
I reminded myself why I was giving up smoking. “Airplane ticket, Lou!” I also realised that I could go on making excuses for putting off the day forever and realised I was being a wimp. Heavens, I wasn’t facing life-threatening surgery here!
I slapped on a patch.
I put my deckchair in the garden (one of the few sunny days we had this summer, thank God)
I selected a really, really good book.
I sat my bum down in the deckchair.
As the day progressed, just occasionally I thought about a ciggie. In the past, when sitting in the garden on my deckchair, I’d have my ciggies to hand, a good book and a cup of tea. I decided to use my pen to chew whenever the thought of a ciggie popped into my head.
I finally got to the end of Sunday and, you know, it wasn’t too bad at all. The patches definitely kept a lid on the craving for a cigarette. I won’t say the desire went away completely, but I certainly didn’t have desperate withdrawal symptoms from the lack of a cigarette. I felt really pleased with myself.
Monday. Back to work. I was hardly in the door when I told my boss that I had given up smoking as of the day before. I needed to tell him as a sort of protection. He’s not a smoker but his wife was a heavy smoker but she’d given up (using the same patches) 2 months previously. I knew if I told him, he’d be pleased for me and I also knew if I told him, there’d be no ‘slipping’ for me because he’d smell cigarette smoke immediately! Did I mention he is also the local undertaker? Did I mention that he has never smoked in his life? Wonder why?
So, here I am 4 weeks later. I have gone from Step 2 and am now down to my final week in Step 3. It really hasn’t been hard at all. I can honestly say that the ‘urge’ for a cigarette has been negligible. What I did find was that I would think to myself “I’ll just go and have a ciggie”, and then remember I didn’t smoke any more and anyway, I didn’t have any ciggies in the house.
A pang of ‘loss’ did assault me on these occasions (that’s the only way I can describe it) but I think that’s because my smoking was usually of the ‘reward’ kind. I’d just cleaned the bathroom – reward myself with a ciggie. I was in the middle of cooking tea and just waiting for the spuds to finish – reward myself with a ciggie. I was working on a particularly creative piece of writing and needed a bit of a think – go and have a quick ciggie and a think on the doorstep. These moments of ‘loss’ were (and still are) fleeting. I suspect they will be with me forever, though obviously not as often or intense. I did stop smoking for 17 years once and the only reason I started again was because of a particularly stressful period in my life and because I felt I ‘deserved’ a cigarette. After 17 years! So you see, 4 weeks or 17 years. What’s the difference. I’ve kicked the habit.
Possible side effects:
Nausea, mild stomach upset, or constipation
Cough, sore throat of dry mouth
Muscle or joint pain
Headache, weakness, flu type symptoms
Dizziness or sleep disturbances
DID I SUFFER ANY SIDE EFFECTS USING THE PATCHES?
What? You mean apart from the ridiculous dreams? If I could have remembered those dreams and sold the ideas to Speilberg, I’d make a fortune. Actually, unless you are the type of smoker who reaches for a cigarette before you’ve even opened your eyes in the morning, then it really isn’t necessary to leave your patch on overnight (who smokes whilst they’re asleep?) Taking off the patch just before you go to bed will lessen the vivid dreams (although I’m sure I’m going to miss mine!) but do remember to put a new patch on as soon as you can the next morning – particularly in the early stages of your withdrawal from Nick O’Tine.
I also experienced some mild itching when I inadvertently placed a patch on the same site I’d used previously. No big deal, I just reapplied it somewhere else. I have also found this weekend that I have suffered from joint pain and mild flu-like symptoms. I could have picked up a mild virus or it could be the patches. Again, it was only whilst reading the instructions for the purposes of this review that I bothered to find out ALL the possible side effects!
If you have tried and failed more than once in the past to give up smoking and want to give these patches a try I would definitely recommend them. However, I would also strongly urge you to visit your practice nurse as recommended, if you possibly can. Not only will you receive the support you need, but if you are experiencing niggling side-effects, these can be explained to you.
SOME SIDE EFFECTS OF GIVING UP SMOKING NOT ATTRIBUTABLE TO THE PATCHES!
Another ‘side-effect’, though not directly attributable to the patches, is the nasty taste you get in your mouth. I experienced this a couple of days after I had stopped smoking. I found this very odd, and wondered why I should get a nasty taste in my mouth at this time. I was speaking to my boss’s wife about it who said that her practice nurse had told her that apparently this is because your body is getting rid of those horrible toxins. Not only that – and this is pause for thought – she said that when you are a smoker, the inside of your mouth tries to protect itself from these harmful toxins by coating the flesh with a protective film. It is that protective film that is being shed once it realises that it no longer needs protecting – hence the disgusting taste in your mouth.
Weight gain? You really will not gain weight just because you give up smoking. You will only gain weight if you start to ‘comfort eat’ i.e. replace one bad habit with another. I had managed to lose a lot of weight prior to giving up smoking and I was determined not to put it back on again. However, the nasty taste in my mouth seemed only to be temporarily assuaged by munching on a biscuit with a cup of tea or something. I realised this was not a good thing, but didn’t know what else to do. Then I discovered sugar-free gum! This takes away the nasty taste and also gives your mouth something to do if you suddenly feel the need for a ciggie.
So, there you have it. I’m delighted to have stopped smoking. I doubt I could have done it without the aid of the NiQuitin CQ patches, as my will-power really wasn’t very strong to begin with. I like the fact that the patches are clear and unobtrusive so only I, and those people I’ve told, know that I am trying to stop smoking.
Available on prescription. DON’T be tempted to try and get cheap ones over the internet. These patches contain substances which may be harmful to people with certain medical conditions and only your doctor or practice nurse can advise you whether or not it is safe for you to use them.
O.K. I’ve finished now…. I’m outta here…. Puff! Gone!
Summary: Patches are clear & unobtrusive. Side-effects minimal. Health effects - maximum!
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